St Patrick’s Day is quickly becoming one of the most celebrated festivals around the world. All around the globe people are celebrating the patron saint of Ireland by donning green clothing, drinking Guinness and dyeing various rivers green…fantastic! We take a look at some of the weird and wacky traditions, both old and new, around the world:
Since 1962 the tradition in Chicago has been to dye the Chicago River green every St Paddy’s day. They dump around 40 pounds of powder into the river, and boats help to churn the water to mix it in. The dye lasts around 45 minutes before dissipating.
The Louisiana Port in New Orleans was a major hub for Irish immigration to the US, and they have been celebrating St Paddy’s day since 1809. One tradition is a vegetable food fight, thought to have originated from rich people on festival floats throwing food down for the poor.
St Patrick’s Day is recognised as an official holiday in the small Caribbean island of Montserrat. The majority of the 5000 residents claim some Irish heritage, and the festival takes on a fusion of Irish, African and Caribbean celebrations.
The capital of Japan, Tokyo has been celebrating St Patrick’s Day since the early 1990s. Predominantly adopted because people were so enamoured by the holiday, and untraditionally the celebrations are organised by non-Irish.
Michelle Obama, originally from Chicago has brought along her own piece of St Patrick’s Day tradition to the White House in Washington D.C. It may not be a full river, but water in the fountain on the south lawn is dyed a traditional Irish green.
County Cork, Ireland
Of course we cannot forget Ireland! County Cork in southern Ireland holds the Guinness (appropriate) World Record for the shortest St Patrick’s Day parade with residents marching just 77 feet, the distance between two village pubs!